Of all tracks, why Spa?
Because Spa can’t afford it.
Why can’t people understand this? Yes, Spa is a phenomenal circuit – but that doesn’t guarantee its place on the calendar. Popularity never has. Monaco is the only circuit that is (largely) exempt from paying race sanctioning fees.
And before you lambast Bernie from extorting the circuits, consider the following:
1) Europe is in economic turmoil at the moment. The worst of the danger appears to have passed, but the continent is still teetering on a knife-edge. This is the main reason why Valencia wants to renegotiate with Bernie. Although Belgium’s economy is not as unstable as some others, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Greece are in such a precarious position that if more than one of them collapse, they could take most of Europe with them. That includes Belgium.
2) Bernie’s hand will always be forced by economics. There are 52 weekends in a year, which means there can be a maximum of 52 races per season. This number is not really viable, so allowing for breaks and travel and development schedules, the maximum number possible is 26, or one every other week. The current Concorde Agreement allows for 20, though there is the provision for more if the teams agree to it (look for this to be a big issued when the 2012 Concorde is negotiated). Bernie controls a limited supply of a commodity that is in high demand, which means the price will naturally go up. If someone can out-bid Spa, why not take them? As soon as Bernie goes with Spa over a circuit that can pay more, every circuit on the calendar will want to renegotiate their deals. The end result will be anarchy, especially if governments think that they can get their Grands Prix for a lesser price – and if Bernie doesn’t agree to it, those governments may pull their funding and the calendar will collapse. We could lose two-thirds of the existing races if that happened.